Tag Archives: tips

My tips for ending awkward dating moments

Guest post from Phil Lusted, a web and graphic designer from north Wales.

For End the Awkward, he talks about awkwardness when it comes to dating and sex and gives some tips for getting over it.

When I was born, I was diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism called diastrophic dysplaysia which means my bones don’t grow like an average height person would. Being only 3ft in height, I have come across many awkward moments in my life, one of the most common is being mistaken for a child or spoken to like a child.

Everyone wants to be loved unconditionally. This includes those who have visible or invisible disabilities. We are still human, with feelings just like any other able-bodied person. Unfortunately, for disabled people, dating can involve uncertainty and more than a few awkward moments. Like the time a waitress asked my date if I needed a high chair before we got to our table. Needless to say, I did not.

My tips for dating

A first date can be nervous for any person, some thoughts that would typically run through my head would be: “What will she think of me and my height?” “Will she think I’m a weird shape?” “What if she feels embarrassed around me?”. It is perfectly normal for us to think like this, we all do it no matter what size or shape we are, it’s all part of being human and how our brain works when in a nervous or first time situation.

To help avoid awkward situations with your date, don’t be ashamed to educate them on your disability before actually going on the date. Tell them any needs you may have or any assistance you may need while on the date, this will put yourself and your date more at ease, you will both be pretty much on the same page with her or him knowing more about your disability and needs.

I knew my girlfriend three months prior to our first date which gave her plenty of time to learn about myself and my dwarfism, which resulted in our first date being comfortable for the both of us, that way we could enjoy our time together without any awkward situations taking place.

Phil and his girlfriend hugging and smiling, on a wooden bench with trees in the background

Sex and confidence

A lot of nervousness may also be from your own body confidence; I know this from my own experience. Because I was born with severe scoliosis, my back and chest are a funny shape which has in the past affected my confidence. Something as simple as taking my shirt off in a public swimming pool would never happen.

It’s important to be confident in yourself by not being ashamed of your appearance, at the end of the day, we all come in different shapes and sizes, it’s something we should embrace and be positive about. Life would be a little boring if we all looked the same. Also keep in mind that if your partner loves you unconditionally, then you have nothing to fear or feel awkward about when it comes to showing your body.

Communication is important

One of the biggest issues caused by feeling awkward or embarrassed is a lack of communication. Despite sex being considered a “private” or “taboo” subject, all relationships require communication and dialog. I think being open with your partner is very important, especially as disabled people.

Talk with your partner about sex and discover what’s best for the both of you to avoid having close-minded expectations. Remember that not everything works with every partner, so it is important to be patient with one another.

The more you talk to one another the less chances you will feel uncomfortable and awkward when it comes to being intimate together.

You can read more about Phil’s awkward moments in his blog for last year’s End the Awkward campaign.

For more tips on sex and dating, check out the films and stories on our website.

Grace Mandeville reveals how to become a star on YouTube

30 under 30 logo

This story is part of 30 Under 30.

 

Grace Mandeville is a popular YouTube vlogger, as well as an actor, model and blogger. However, Grace says she just spends her whole life on Twitter!

As part of 30 Under 30 she talks to us about making videos, attitudes and her top tips for getting started on YouTube. 

How I started doing YouTube videos

I was going for an audition and I was talking to some of the other people in there and they were like ‘Oh I have a show reel on YouTube’. Suddenly I thought, with acting you have to wait for someone to say ‘yes you can have this role’ and tell you what to do, but with  YouTube you can just do it yourself, there’s no waiting.

I was born with what’s called a foreshortened limb. I just say I’ve got one hand – my arm ends just below the elbow. I found it really easy breaking into YouTube as a disabled person. I didn’t talk about my arm for quite a long time, just because I didn’t think it was an important thing to mention. It doesn’t define me. But then I did a collab with another YouTuber and there was loads of horrible comments about my arm on their video. That’s what upset me more – I didn’t think it was fair to them.

So I did a video and started talking about it. My audience has been really accepting and if that means that 75,000 people in the world have changed their attitudes towards it, then I’m happy with that!

Full length photo of Grace, standing in the middle of a road in the countryside.

Attitudes

I’ve had a few negative comments online. I did a video called ‘I have one hand’ and started it by making a joke saying my sister flushed it down the toilet, then I end up telling them the truth. I got a few people commenting saying ‘it’s all good, in a few years’ time you’ll be able to hide that and make your arm look normal again with the prosthetics that are being built these days.’ And I was like ‘no, did you not watch the video? I just said ‘I’m happy the way I am and I don’t want to change it.’ So they’re not exactly trolls but those are the comments that get to me. They obviously still don’t get what I’m trying to say.

There can be  negative attitudes in the TV world too. Not necessarily from actors but more like casting directors. There are a lot of auditions that I go for, where I turn up and they’re just looking for disabled people which is cool because I think it’s a step in the right direction and they need to include more diversity, but I want to go for parts because of my acting not because I have one hand. And that’s a big thing that I want to change so badly. For people to focus on the skills. Basically – just give me a good acting job!

Role models

There are very few disabled people on YouTube so I encourage it as much as possible. Even though I’m one of the few people doing it, I don’t see myself as a role model at all. What a lovely thing though. I do get nice messages from young disabled people. Especially on YouTube because I think it’s such an accessible way to connect people and on Twitter as well.

Head shot of Grace looking off to the side, next to a neon sign of Coca Cola

My top tips for breaking into YouTube

Talk about something you’re interested in

Don’t just talk about make-up because you think that’s a cool think to talk about. I couldn’t talk about make-up but I love watching the videos. Which is why we do comedy.

Don’t make them too long

Make your videos short and be concise. They can always watch more of your videos if they want more of you, but you don’t want them to lose interest.

Be topical

If you want your channel to grow, be topical. We did a sketch on Valentine’s Day that was about Valentine’s Day. So you can tweet it out on Valentine’s Day and everyone that’s interested in Valentine’s Day will watch your video. You don’t always have to be topical but it is good.

Get people involved

Make videos with people you want to make videos. I make them with my sister. Even if they annoy you, they might be better on camera than you!

Go for it

The great thing about it is you don’t need anyone’s permission – apart from your parents if you’re young. So you should just do it. I really wish that I did it like three years before I actually started it!

Grace joins us for a Facebook Live session at 4pm on Friday 17 June.

She is sharing her story as part of 30 Under 30. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Keep up to date with all of our new stories on our 30 under 30 page.

To see more from Grace, follow her on Twitter.

Off to university? Top tips for disabled students

As new students up and down the country prepare for university life, we’ve put together some tips from our online community for disabled students starting out. If you’re a seasoned student or graduate, please feel free to share your own!

Paperwork

  • Make sure any access and care arrangements are in place and finalised. Get things confirmed in writing by email so you can access them quickly via smartphone if there is a problem.
  • Are you employing a Personal Assistant (PA)? Start their induction early so they know what to expect and you can ensure a good match when you arrive at university.Two male students talking
  • Is your Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) sorted? Have you had an assessment to see what support you might need? If not, contact Student Finance England.
  • Have you checked your benefit entitlement? Some disabled students are eligible for other financial help on top of DSA and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal independence payment (PIP). For more information try the benefits checker or contact the disabled students helpline or check out the Students Support and Benefits Handbook.
  • Speak to the doctor’s surgery you’ll be registered with at university, before you leave and find out what their registration process is, and if necessary book appointments.
  • Put essential contact details in your phone. Good ones to include are student accommodation services, students union advice service, student support disability services, nightline, 24 hour security, local taxi companies (especially accessible taxi services), any local authority numbers you may need.
  • Don’t forget to pack any registration or welcome literature from the university – put essential documents in a folder and keep them close to hand. Another essential is a map of the university.
  • If you find using a photo booth difficult, take a stash of printed passport photos with you. You’ll end up needing them for all sorts of things, such as student ID cards, National Union of Students (NUS) cards and rail cards.
  • See if the students support service offers a disabled students induction. It can be a great way to orientate yourself around the university and also meet other students that have had similar experiences to you.

Transport and access

  • Find out what bus routes you may be taking and if it helps, look it up on Google maps or street view, so you can recognise where to get on and off. Check accessibility of the buses and get a bus pass sorted out before you leave.Disabled parking bays
  • Some universities have free ‘safety buses’ which you can use to get home after a night out. Find out if your student union offers these and if so, when and where they are available and what accessibility they have. They can be a real lifesaver if accessible taxis aren’t readily available and you’re trying to get home!
  • If you’re taking your car, find out about blue badges or parking passes, make a note of where the good parking spots for your accommodation, students union, and lectures are located.
  • Find out where accessible toilets are located around the university. If you can get an advance copy of your timetable and the locations of lectures, you can work out the easiest routes to take.
  • Check out the library for access, including the locations of accessible workstations. See if there is a library tour or induction you can go on; this can help you quickly find out how to locate journals or use moving bookcases if they have them.

Stuff you might need

  • Remember to pack spares and extra batteries for any equipment you’d be lost without.
  • Make copies of all the paperwork you might need related to your disability, such as proof of entitlement or relevant medical notes.
  • Think about logistics. For example, find out where your nearest launderette is. If it’s far away from your accommodation think about how you’ll transport your washing to and from your room. (Some students use a roomy backpack or a shopping trolley)
  • Likewise food shopping. Where is your nearest supermarket? Do they stock any special dietary products you might need? If not, stock up before you go.
  • It can also be helpful to stockpile anything else you go through unusually quickly, in case there are any difficulties replacing them at short notice (for example continence products or items of clothing that wear out fast).Uni student smiling

Getting support

  • The university should have a student support department with a disability section. The staff are there to support you with any issues you might face and to ensure you have the things you need to study successfully. They may ask for your permission to discuss your situation with your parents when necessary, so have a think about whether that’s the right option for you.
  • Most student unions have a disabled students representative and if you have any issues it can be useful to talk these through with them.
  • Many student unions have independent advice services. These can be really helpful if you have issues with the university whilst you are a student.
  • If you’re interested in joining, make a note of the contact details and any welcome events for the disabled students’ society before you leave for university. You could even send them an email beforehand to find out what’s on.

Socialising

  • Lots of universities have Facebook groups, where you can get chatting to people on your course or in your halls before you go. It helps to break the ice on your first night.
  • Most universities have a freshers’ fayre, where you can join societies and sports teams. These are a brilliant way to integrate yourself into university life and meet new people that have similar interests to you. They usually keep information on available societies and teams on the students union website. If you don’t see anything you fancy joining, you can always start a new society yourself!Disabled student at student union bar
  • It’s also worth bearing in mind that some welcome week or freshers’ week activities might not be accessible to you. For example, if you find loud noises difficult, the icebreaker party club night might be a bit much. But there are often alternatives available so find out about those (try the student union or student support team for information)
  • When you move in, prop your door open (with a doorstop or a crate of beer!) and say hi to anyone that walks past. Do it even if you’re feeling nervous – just remember that everyone else is too – even if they aren’t showing it.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family back home, tell them what you’ve been up to and how you’re getting on. Make a plan to visit them, or visa-versa, so you have a date to look forward to.
  • Remember that even though Uni is culturally held up as the ‘best years of your life’, it’s often just a stereotype. If you aren’t having the time of your life, don’t worry that it means you’ve failed. In reality, very few students breeze through their university life without facing the odd problem here and there.

For more great tips – whether you’re a new student, a new parent or simply new to Scope’s online community, why not check us out today!

Cheap and cheerful holiday activities

Your Easter budget might not stretch to Disneyland, but our friends at Netbuddy (now part of Scope) have come up with some great ideas for entertaining kids on a shoe string. Please add your own suggestions to this list and share nicely!

Treasure hunt

I enjoy going on a treasure hunt with my kids. The other day we collected sticks to make a pretend camp fire. Other times the ‘treasure’ has been stones or daisies. It’s a good, inclusive activity they all enjoy.

Glitter party

Poppy has very little fine motor skills and struggles with most art and craft activities. So I stuck some wrapping paper to the wall and we made hand-prints on it. Then we covered in glue and threw glitter at. Messy but great fun!

KnittingKnitacise

Knitting is great to exercise hand writing motor skills.

 

Rubbish instruments

Raid the recycling and make some musical instruments. Fill jars and plastic containers with rice to make shakers, elastic bands over a box can make a great guitar and balloons stretched over tubs for some bangin’ drums!

Make a den

My daughter loves it if we put a sheet over the dining table and make a den. I bring some of her sensory lights in and we all sit underneath. Her non-disabled brothers think it’s great too!

A real catch

A velcro ball and catch mitt set has been fantastic for my son who is unable to catch a regular ball. Great for fun, cause and effect and coordination. Ours was under £5 from eBay – check out ‘Spordas No Miss’.

Deflated balloonsFun with balloons

Fill two balloons (one inside the other) with sand or flour for a fun, sensory activity.

Retail therapy

A great free activity for a rainy day … the Argos catalogue! Harris and I poured over the pictures. Lots of opportunity for conversation, it was a bit like retail therapy except, since Harris doesn’t understand the concept of shopping, so no money was spent.

Electronic sounds

Electronic instruments are great for people who like making a lot of sound (banging furniture etc). They can make as much noise as they like with the head phones on and no one else has to hear it! You can get drum kits /keyboards etc.

Cheerio necklace

Try threading cheerios on a liquorice lace to make an edible necklace.

Strawberries, blackberries and bluecurrantsBerry tasty paint

Squash strawberries, blackberries, rasberries, blueberries etc to make a tasty paint.  Mix together the colours and tastes.  Great messy fun!

Word games

We’ve been using words on the back of paper-clipped paper fish with a magnetic fishing rod to make a game out of reading.

Matching pairs game

Use a digital camera to make your own cards for this game. you can photograph your own matching pairs ie your dog, your home, family, etc You’ll need two of each.

Make some thunder

“Thunder makers” are brilliant. I got mine at Hawkins Bazaar for around £8, you just give it a shake and it sounds like a low rumble of thunder, the harder you shake the louder it gets. (Be warned though they are addictive!)

Feeling art

For visually impaired people, try adding things likes sand or beads to enable them to feel their artwork. Be consistent and stick to the same textures for colours: sand for yellow, smalls beads are green etc.

pastry brushFind the alternative

Sal finds it difficult to hold small objects, so I gave her pastry brushes instead of small paint brushes for painting.

Rice is nice

Fill a bin with rice and let your child plunge their hands deep into it. Hide some toys and measuring cups for added fun. Dried beans also work well.

Make your own

I made my own 3-D letters, numbers and words in colours that Margy likes best to teach her to read. You can laminate or cover in plastic so they last longer.

Activity frame for wheelchairs

The frame from a small child’s swing makes a great frame to hang stuff from to go over a wheelchair as it is stable and can be folded for easy storage.

BlackboardDrawing wall

Stick some blank paper on a wall somewhere and turn it into a ‘graffiti wall’. You can also paint a wall with blackboard paint or put up a big white board for graffiti fun.

Home skittles

Use guttering to make a chute to play skittles.

Foil play mat

We use a foil emergency blanket as play matt for Matty –   it is great for sensory stimulation as it is shiny and makes nice sounds.

Black and white photo of family watching TV in 1950sCinema Club

Turn your house into a cinema. Choose a DVD together (bought or borrowed from the local library), make tickets, posters etc. Invite friends if you’ve got the space and then make popcorn, close the curtains and enjoy!

Paint with smells

I like to do ‘smelly painting collages’ with my daughter.  Using mint sauce, coffee, chocolate, sherbert etc.  We’ve also tried making a pulp from grass by adding a bit of water to it.  My daughter is visually impaired so it really helps bring the world to her.

Weighted toy

Weighted blankets and objects can exert a calming influence on some people. Try taking an old favourite stuffed toy and filling its paws and tummy with curtain weights, nuts and bolts or other heavy items. Great for sitting on people’s laps when they’re feeling jumpy.

Sensory album

We made our own sensory scrapbook. We stuck sensory bits and pieces alongside our own photos in an album to make it personal.

Make your own film

Use your camcorder to make a ‘film’ of a favourite book. We did The Tiger Who Came to Tea, using a toy stuffed tiger, shots of our table set up for tea, empty food packets, and a homemade cardboard claw peeking round the front door. You can do lots of voiceovers to explain what is happening, or do it documentary-style and interview the Mummy, the child, the cafe owner, Daddy, the Tiger etc.

Dance competitionChild dancing wearing hat

Put on the music and have a dance competition.

Toy libraries

Toy libraries are great for borrowing special needs toys and equipment. Much cheaper than buying. To find a toy library near you, contact the National Association of Toy and Leisure Library’s Helpline Services: tel: 020 7255 4616 or email: helpline@playmatters.co.uk

 Sensory flour games

I mix cornflour and water together and it makes a great sensory play tool. Also put flour into a plastic bag and seal it with some food colouring. As it gets squished round it will change colour.

Fluorescent images

We have installed a UV light in our dark hallway and use fluorescent cards with shapes cut out to stimulate Ruby who is visually impaired. As she gets older we are turning shapes into letters, words, numerals, books.

Enticing smells

Put good smells in paint or playdough to make it more interesting.

We’d love to hear your cheap ‘n cheerful tips for Easter. Please share your own ideas in the comments box below.

Celebrating Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, so we asked the Netbuddy community (now part of Scope) for some of their top tips. Find out how a ceiling fan and some old yoghurt pots could change your life!

Jacob’s worry box

My son Jacob is seven and has Asperger syndrome and high functioning Autism. He has very high anxiety levels and worries about lots of things. Every night, after story, we do “worry time”. We talk about about all the worries he has put in his “worry box” (his head) throughout the day. It’s a really good way of helping him deal with his anxieties/worries with lots of reassurance and cuddles from his mum.

Carry a surprise card

If your child has Autism or Aspergers, it’s worth carrying a ‘surprise’ card with you for unplanned situations (like unannounced fire drills). On the card, have a surprise symbol (an exclamation mark) and “SURPRISE! we are going to x, y, z”

Routines

Remember that routines are important in everyone’s life. Missing a step can make you feel “not quite right”. Think about how you feel if you sleep in and don’t get to eat breakfast or have a shower. This can be useful when trying to understand why someone is struggling when they can’t complete a routine.

Say it with an emoji

Sometimes my brother, who has autism, finds it hard to explain how he is feeling. But he likes choosing an emoji icon on the phone/ipad to represent an emotion.

Sensory wall

We’ve created a ‘sensory wall’ by sticking old yoghurt pots on the wall – you can also put bubble wrap, biscuit packet insides, corrugated paper, sand paper ….

Join in

My son likes it when I join him in his “autistic activities” like lying on the floor and just staring at the ceiling. Once he notices that I am there he asks for blanket and we just relax like that! Try seeing the world from their eyes sometimes.

Record the answer

Tim keeps asking the same question over and over. I bought a key ring on which I recorded the answer. Now he can press the button as much as he wants without driving me so crazy.

Scented bubbles

Scented bubbles are great for sensory stimulation. Many sensory catalogues and supermarkets sell them.

Explore alternative activities

Try replacing repetitive behaviour with another activity that has the same function. For example, if your child flicks their fingers for visual stimulation, try giving them a kaleidoscope or a bubble gun.

Toy libraries

Sensory equipment can be expensive so try before you buy. Look out for equipment in toy libraries. STEPS, Cerebra and now Newlife Foundation have national schemes. You may find schools/centres locally which offer the same.

The Reason I Jump

I recommend this book if you’d like to understand why autistic people behave the way they do. The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida. It’s heartbreaking but enlightening. The Reason I Jump

It’s OK to be different

Always choose your battles. Be sure you are doing things that will help your child rather than simply make them “fit in”. Sometimes it’s OK to be different!

Taking turns

To support turn taking teach children how to use a sand timer so that they can show they are asking for a turn and the child on the toy can see when their turn finishes. A large bright coloured 3 minute timer is excellent.

Encouraging eye contact

I put stickers on my forehead as a target for my son to look at. This helps him to look at people’s faces and people feel more like he is engaging with them, despite him still struggling with eye contact.

Traffic lights

I use traffic light cards on my key ring to control my son’s behaviour. Green means “ok, good, go for it”. Yellow means “calm down, you may hurt yourself or someone else if you carry on”. Red means “no- stop right now!” Used alongside countdowns these techniques have made things a lot more manageable.

Tents

Play tents for kids make great sensory spaces when kitted out with everyday items e.g. fairy lights, hanging old CD’s, tinsel, etc.

DIY social stories

I have been creating my own social stories using pictures of my son and clip art pictures. You can find images of most things through Microsoft Office and easily type up your own personalised stories.

Use mirrors

If looking directly into your eyes is too invasive for the person you’re supporting, try using mirrors to see if they can look at you that way.

Early bird shopping

If shopping for clothes or shoes is a nightmare, try asking the manager if they’ll open the shop 15 minutes earlier to allow you to try things on without an audience. Our local Clarks suggested it to us, and it made it stress free for all of us.

Disco shower

I’ve bought a multi-coloured shower head on Amazon. The shower head flashes different coloured lights while the water is turned on. My son, who previously hated washing, loves it now!

Avoid queues

My son can’t cope with standing in queues. I always go to the front of the queue and asked nicely if we could come to the front. Nobody ever minds when I do. It isn’t fair on him or anyone else to make him queue.

Teaching social rules

For people with ASD, learning social communication rules is a bit like learning a foreign language. It’s not impossible to learn, but it has to be taught, and it takes time.

Scream time

Try fun games that involve screaming as loud as you can then whispering quietly. We do this before we go out. It reduces my son’s anxiety and also prepares him for what is acceptable in private and in public.

YouTube

We find YouTube invaluable for preparing our son for a new activity or venue, such as horse-riding or a theme park. You can find videos of most activities and places online.

Rock on!

Lisa loves rocking which sometimes drives us a bit barmy. We bought a rocking chair for the house and a swing for the garden. These satisfy her sensory needs and make it more comfortable for us to cope with.

Ceiling fan

We’ve discovered the best thing that stops a tantrum in our house, would you believe, is a ceiling fan. Screaming starts, turn the fan on and the spinning calms James down immediately. Best £45 ever spent!

Find out more about getting involved in World Autism Awareness Month 2014 on the Ambitious about Autism website.

How to keep your relationship strong

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air, but if you have a disabled child, you may find your relationship takes a back seat. Parenting a disabled child can put a significant strain on your partnership, so take a look at some of these top tips from the Netbuddy community (now part of Scope):

Parents of a disabled child sitting close together

Keep talking

It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut where all you talk about is the kids, appointments, work and domestic stuff. Make sure you keep talking about all the other interesting things that once brought you together and interests you share. Don’t let that go!

Trust your partner to parent

Trust your partner to parent. Sometimes we shut them out and do things ourselves without giving them a chance.

Do something nice every day

When we married, my husband and I vowed that we would endeavour to do something nice for each other every day, small tokens like making a drink or running a bath. In turn, the other person would always appreciate this effort and thank them, not taking it for granted.

Make time

Try to make time as a couple, even if it’s only to have a chat over a cup of tea once the children are in bed. Talk and listen to each other. Washing up can wait!

Make light

My husband and I play a game where we place bets with each other which of our three disabled children will wake/kick off etc at what times. The ‘winner’ gets a treat from the other partner. Sounds silly, but making light of intensely stressful situations really does help us cope.

Keep communication open

Have an agreed plan of how to manage your child and keep communication open between yourselves.

Think positive

Learn how to think positive in moments of stress.

Family with a daughter in a wheelchairShare it with your best friend

You have to learn to laugh through the stress together or it will crush your relationship. There are ups and downs daily. Communicate everything … fear, anger, humour. Cry, laugh, love, share with your best friend.

No blame

Communication is the key to everything. Understanding that sometimes we get it wrong and not blaming each other.

Share issues

Make sure you both understand your child’s condition and what it means, so you can talk about how to approach issues. When one of you works full time and the other goes to all the appointments, it’s easy for the working partner to feel pushed out and in the dark. That can lead to them giving up trying, so the full-time carer feels unsupported.

Play to each others’ strengths

Play to each others’ strengths. I’m good at paperwork. Hubby is great at housework. So I sort school letters, DLA forms, statements etc. Hubby hoovers, mops etc.

RespectHappy couple with disabled child

Respect is very important. Respect your partner’s opinions even if you don’t share them. That will allow you to move on through disagreements and focus on the positives.

Leave a note

Leave messages around the house for each other to find, reminding the partner how they are appreciated/loved … or sending a text message.

Let them help

Let your partner help when they can. Yes, they may do things differently, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Communicate your feelings

Dealing with the stress involved with having a child (disabled or not) amplifies any problems that already exist. Every day I thank my lucky stars that my wife is with me and that my daughter is well … and I tell them both as often as I can that I love them and appreciate all they do. My tips would be communicate, listen and support.

Ask yourself …

‘What is the one thing I can do this week that will make my partner feel special?’ and plan time in the diary to do it.

Sleep on it

Sleep is very important. If you are both sleep deprived, arguments are much more likely to happen. Try taking it in turns to get up at night so one person always has a full night’s sleep.

To see more great relationship tips, and to add your own, please visit netbuddy.org.uk